I've now been in Eugene just over a week, long enough to meet some of the locals, get a flavor for what there is to do (and the inverse) & make a few friends. Most of the people that I've met fall into three categories: a) transplants from elsewhere that came here for a job or with a spouse, b) undergrad, grad or PhD students, c) travelers, some here for little more than a day, others here for some indeterminate span of time, like ice floes entering the South Pacific, they may dissolve into the deep overnight.
I had dinner the night after I got into town with a new Jewish gay friend and some friends of his; we had homemade Indian food and drank local wine, shared conversation and told each other bits about our lives. It was a low key evening that reminded me of nights with friends when I'd lived in Michigan; there was a sense of leisure and ease that one often experiences when in the presence of like minds. We all went our own ways later in the evening, promising to keep in touch--via FB, we have.
Later in the week a few of us went to a local LGBT event at one of the downtown bars. A long narrow space, it was standing room only with overly-loud music, bad acoustics, emaciated go-go boys, lithely buxom naughty nurses, over-priced drinks, dark gooey floors--all the things that you might expect from a bar trying to be something it is not, in a place trying to conjure an illusion of something it has never seen. It was fun for a while, but the crush of bodies and lack of air ultimately proved repressive, I walked back home in a light rain, welcoming the warm enveloping mist and lung-filling fresh air. I think I'll pass on the next event, perhaps make an early evening of it or show up after midnight like my friends and I used to at bars back home.
There's not really a gay "scene" in Eugene a guy told me at Cowfish (gallery-cum-coffeehouse-cum-pool hall-cum-dance bar-cum-alternative spot) last night; I'd gone in for the variety show to observe a friend of mine, bought a beer and plunked down at the bar. Solo at the bar, variety night in full swing, I was apparently fodder for the ministrations of a self-appointed "Welcome to non-gay "scene" Eugene" roving vagabond. Sitting beside me, he launched into a well-practiced introduction, brief bio and explanation of his drawl--Dallas by way of Louisiana--then asked for reciprocation. Intros aside, I made polite small talk, cracked my knuckles and generally stared off into space, hoping, that perhaps any of this might dissuade whatever my no-beau was working himself up to. I'd thought that perhaps one or two of my new friends might appear as knights in shining something-or-other, but both saw the no-beau and made bee-lines back from whence they'd come (note to self, reciprocation may be warranted in future). Stuck apparently, I tried to extricate myself by disagreeing with whatever point the no-beau was making. Did I like musical theatre? No. Did I like the crowd? What crowd? Didn't I just hate it when you go out and a place refuses to alter everything on the menu to suit your tastes? Why go out at all then? If I'm spending money, I should have whatever I want; if I say I don't want something made a certain way, I should get it however I want it. Again, why go out, especially if you are going to make those you are with uncomfortable and piss off the people that are trying to accommodate your whims. If I'm paying for it, I get what I want. Always? What about the proprietor that looks you square in the eye and tells you to "Go fuck yourself"? This last comment just laid more wood on the proverbial fire, which started another round of bizarre conversation, culminating with the advice that we should all just say what's on our minds. No-beau then excused himself, promising to return...return he did, billowing cloud of cigarette smoke and all. Hmm, say what's on our minds huh? I think he started to fall off his chair when I told him that I detest cigarette smoke, perhaps gaining in the fall when I mentioned that I don't date/see/screw around with smokers; I then went for the coup de gras when I stated that I don't like live music (he sings with this group and that...ad nauseum); coffin-box nails in hand, I ordered a bourbon and went back to contemplating the art on the walls.